Tulsa Muslims welcome positive response from community

Monday, September 17th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

The flag is at half-staff at Peace Academy, but no students are there to see it. They're home while security is improved at the Islamic school.

Sheryl Siddiqui, Islamic Society of Tulsa: "We are advising our people not to go out after dark if they don't have to, to go places in groups when it's possible, not to go into neighborhoods where there is a high crime rate anyway."

But while precautions are taken at the mosque and in the community, for the most part, the response from Tulsa towards Muslims has been positive. "They're glad we're here, many of them have offered to escort our people to and from the grocery store or to the mall, after school, wherever they needed to do they were willing to drop what they are doing and I mean 100 or 200 calls like, people who are just so wonderful."

Like many Americans, Muslims have been on their knees, praying, in response to the attack. Nuredin Giayash, Tulsa Muslim: "Praying about what our fellow citizens are going through in New York and Washington." The prayers offered daily are a tradition of Islam, and while some may label Osama bin Laden a "Muslim extremist", Tulsa Muslims say his brand of religion is opposite of theirs. Sheryl Siddiqui, "They may call themselves Muslim but what they have done is so far outside our faith, it is against every teaching we learn from nursery school all the way to the highest Islamic educations. We can't tolerate having people identifying us with terrorists."